Good news! Plot Whispering guru Martha Alderson is visiting today as she releases The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing into the world.
I know that finding inspiration and getting our writing mind running can be a struggle at times, and so having a book that offer s prompts and wisdom on how to connect with our creative inner selves is a great tool for our writer’s chest.
The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts gives you the inspiration and motivation you need to finish every one of your writing projects. Written by celebrated writing teacher and author Martha Alderson, this book guides you through each stage of the writing process, from constructing compelling characters to establishing an unforgettable ending.
Here’s some great answers to an area that trouble’s many: writer’s block. If you’ve had it before, you know how terrible it is, and how hard it can be to climb out of it. Please read on!
Angela: What dangers are responsible for writer’s block?
Martha: I address writer’s block on the first page of my new book, The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing.
“But you’re stuck. You can’t seem to get going. And what seemed so easy and so urgent now appears as a huge obstacle sitting in front of you, blocking your path to fulfillment.”
Writers beware of the three major dangers responsible for writer’s block.
3) Lack of Knowledge about How to Write a Story with a Plot
Angela: How does one pull oneself free of writer’s block?
Martha: I have always been fascinated by energy, which is why the Universal Story so delights me. I love the idea of an energetic path that cycles through the beginning and the end of a story, and everything else in life, too. Sometimes the energy builds and sometimes it fades, like the waves near my house. I appreciate that you can’t force a story to come any more than you can force a wave to break. However, there are three magic elixirs, one each to cure the three major dangers for writer’s block. Practice them liberally to ensure the path of creativity stays clear and wide open.
1) Replace Disorganization with Discipline
I cringe even writing the word discipline, like I’m writing a bad or even evil word. Yet for writers with jumbled ideas, cluttered workspaces, stacks of stories started and stopped at varying degrees of completion, writing in moments of sublime inspiration followed by weeks and months of writer’s block isn’t working.
Discipline once referred to an avid pursuit. At some point in history, discipline became linked to punishment and quickly fell out of favor, especially with creative and more permissive people. An everyday discipline is not nearly as romantic as being struck by inspiration. Yet every successful writer I know writes daily.
The most successful writers write full-time everyday. Discipline demands self-control. Self-control requires emotional maturity. How does one achieve emotional maturity, you ask? Same way as your protagonist achieves her full character emotional development, through trial and error and trauma and plunging into the dark night of the soul. The protagonist’s emotional development takes place over time and culminates at the end of the story in a lasting transformation. The character’s emotional development can be plotted from the beginning to the end of the story.
Your emotional maturity develops from writing a story with a plot from beginning to end and culminates at the end of the story. This means you write every day. Even when you don’t want to, even when you don’t know what to write and when there are so many more important things to do than write, you sit down, wait and write what comes. Rather than punishment, discipline grants you access to a wondrous world.
At first, establishing a daily writing discipline takes persistence and will-power. You try and fail and pick yourself up and try again. The more consistently you follow-through with the intentions and promises you make to yourself, soon your writing discipline becomes automatic, a habit, a routine. Rather than controlled by whim or strong emotion or wait for inspiration to strike, a disciplined writer writes.
Consistency creates habits and routines. Every time you write repeatedly with strong purpose, intention, and emphasis, the habit or routine enters the realm of a ritual. Finishing happens when you write consistently.
Today I write.
When you’re writing a first draft, committed not to show anyone until you’ve written all the way through to the end and started rewriting, use your critique group instead as a place to publicly state your writing intentions. Having your intentions witnessed increases your likelihood of discipline and success.
2) Replace Uncertainty with Confidence
To write takes confidence and energy. Something haunts you—a line of dialogue, a character; an event whispers to you like an invitation to sit down and write. Imagine for a moment that perhaps something in the invisible world wishes to manifest in the visible world. You—yes, you—have been chosen to make that dream a reality. You can always say no. However, once you say yes, the energy and commitment you bring to that task is sure to rise and fall as you follow the path on which your story leads you.
In appreciation of how fragile most writers’ confidence, I added to the PWBook of Prompts daily affirmations reminding you of your goals. Each time you renew your commitment to yourself, you renew your energy for your story. The more committed and highly energized you are, the more successful you’ll be at writing everyday. Suddenly, the ritual of showing up for your dreams empowers you to seize that which you most want.
Learning new concepts and exploring new ideas in your writing can fill or deplete you of energy. Daily affirmations lift your vigor, refocus your beliefs in yourself, and keep you writing. The ritual of repeating an affirmation every day at the same time becomes the anchor that keeps you grounded when life and your story fall apart around you.
Affirmations provide inspiration and foster creativity as you follow the more concrete plot elements of writing your story from beginning to end. Every day you repeat an affirmation, you are symbolically focusing your thoughts on your goals. Daily repetition of an affirmation builds positive, upbeat energy.
3) Replace a Lack of Knowledge about How to Write a Story with a Plot by Studying Plot and Structure
The more you know about plot and structure, the more confident and disciplined you grow and the more easily your ideas fall into place.
As a plot consultant and teacher, I meet writers who talk about writing but don’t actually write. I meet others who write endlessly but never get anywhere. In every case, it means the writer doesn’t know what to write next. Writers who know what comes next in a story with a plot and have a plan and pre-plot, no matter how vague, are less apt to experience writer’s block than writers who don’t know what goes where in a story with a plot. The writing prompts in the PW Book of Prompts take care of that for you with daily plot prompts to prompt your imagination and expression toward the plot and structure considerations at the exact spot where you are in writing your story. Increase your appreciation and knowledge of plot and structure and move from blocked and frustrated to writing the story all the way to the end.
Thank you, Angela, for allowing me space to share my passion for plot with your friends and followers. I invite you all to join me virtually on March 6th to Track Your Plot at the Scene Level, a webinar hosted by the Writer’s Store.
Martha Alderson, aka the Plot Whisperer, is the author of the Plot Whisperer series of plot books for writers: The Plot Whisperer Book of Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing, The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises to Help You Create Compelling Stories – a companion workbook to The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master. She has also written Blockbuster Plots Pure & Simple (Illusion Press) and several ebooks on plot.
As an international plot consultant for writers, Martha’s clients include best-selling authors, New York editors, and Hollywood movie directors. She teaches plot workshops to novelists, memoirists, and screenwriters privately, at plot retreats, RWA, SCBWI, CWC chapter meetings, at writers’ conferences and Writers Store where she takes writers beyond the words and into the very heart of a story.
As the founder of December, International Plot Writing Month, Martha manages the award-winning blog for writers, awarded by Writers Digest 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. Her vlog, How Do I Plot a Novel, Memoir, Screenplay covers 27 steps to plotting your story from beginning to end.
Super helpful as always Martha–it is always great to have you on the blog. I have learned so much about writing from your books, blog and videos. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us!
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Thank you! I received my copy of ‘The Plot Whisperer’ in this afternoon’s mail. I’m looking forward to working through it.
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Tiffany Turpin Johnson says
I like to read books on writing, particularly any that deal with plotting or outlining, when I’m blocked. I find that when I read craft books my mind automatically starts to work through plot issues on a subconscious level. I also like to skip to the end if I know it, and then start working backwards.
I have a work-in-progress with about 20,000 words written. The vignettes are similar to a quilt I started for my baby. I now have a good 30 quilt squares in Grandma’s Garden pattern…all separately stacked, not linked, not quilted. She’s a sophomore in college!
I’m sooo stuck! Disorganized is No. 1, yep. Lack of knowledge to stitch it all together with a compelling plot, mmm, yep.
But uncertainty? Hmmm. I think I’ve managed that one. I experienced uncertainty with the need for this story, but after researching it–it’s historical fiction–I had no doubts on its necessity. I felt uncertainty on whether I could write it, but as I’ve grown as a writer, writing for newspapers and magazines and teaching poetry, my self-confidence has grown, too.
I could use this new book of Martha’s. I already own Plot Busters and Plot Whisperer Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master.
Rachna Chhabria says
Plotting is my biggest worry. So, I do an initial plot outline based on eight plot points. it helps me get a better grip on my plot.
I am an overachiever. I struggle with all three. Disorganization, uncertainty and lack of knowledge about how to write a story with a plot.
Disorganization because I don’t have a real workspace to sit down and crank up my word count. Uncertainty because the minute I DO sit down and write, it all seems forced, contrived, horrible drivel. And of course, half the time I have no idea what is going to happen with any character or how it should happen.
I think I struggle most with lack of knowledge. If I’m not sure what’s supposed to come next, it becomes very easy to procrastinate and ignore the problem, but making lots of notes before I start writing has helped, and also putting the other projects so I can focus on the particular challenge facing me.
The one “tip” shared in this article that really works for me is replacing a lack of knowledge about how to write a story with a plot by studying plot and structure. Someone has said, “Your never to old to learn.” I say your never to good at writing to learn! Learning more about plot and character development excites and stimulates the buried and burdened emotions and rev’s up the idling writing engine. A well written article, blog or book on the subject can get me going like nothing else and remind me of why I choose to write in the first place…it’s just plain invigorating! Thanks for your tips, books and blogs! They inspire me to greater writing!
Anne Beggs says
Martha, TY for the facebook post prompting me to return and share more comments–universal plague–you are not only first aid for writers, but a long term guide. Yes, write on.
Plot Whisperer says
Lots of great strategies here to work around writer’s block. What I am struck by is how universal the plague is and how everyone seems to find ways around or through it. Everyone, at least all of you who commented, seem aware of your weaknesses and still, you write.
Today, I write.
Sensitive Cheese says
Disorganization of my time is the most bothersome to me. I get so scatter-brained and pulled in so many directions. -Am I reading the right writing books? (I’ve got 5 going at the moment, including The Plot Whisperer); -Am I reading the right fiction works? (I’ve got 3 of those going at the moment as well); -Am I paying enough attention to all the blog articles that I should?
There’s a lot of clutter in my daily activities, and I have trouble sorting and prioritizing. I often find that when I try to make difficult time-use decisions, that by the time I’m actually assigning priorities, the time is gone and the next day is upon me.
As far as actual writing goes, I’ve found that the only thing that works for me is to 1) remove the distractions as much as possible, including everything on the internet; 2) to just push everything else aside as if it wasn’t even there; and 3) pick a time when other inhabitants of the house are not usually needing my interaction with them. Of course this usually means getting up way early before the day job, or staying up after everyone else has conked out. Either seems to work fine, but my energy levels seem to be highest in the early morning. I guess I just need that “discipline” that you speak of to follow through and just do it. Thanks.
I let myself get unorganized, especially when life gets in the way. I need to plan and balance my day better so I get more writing time. Discipline, yes.
I struggle with discipline. One tactic that worked for me was signing a writer’s contract with a friend, who I had to check in with every day to report on my writing. Having an outside source ready to call me out if I didn’t write helped me find the time each day.
Uncertainty and discipline are the one that I struggles with. And although I know plot and structure, I need more conflict and tension in my story.
C. Lee McKenzie says
It’s always so tempting to put other things ahead of writing and uncertainty is definitely one factor that helps push me away from my desk.
Thanks for posting about this one!
Plotting. My goal last year was to learn to plot, and that is still my goal in 2013. Because I still haven’t got it down!
Vickie McDonough says
Uncertainty is my biggest problem. I wonder if the plot is strong enough to carry the story to the end. If the h & h are flawed and still likeable. But, you have to push past these issues to finish your book.
Carolyn Gibbs says
My biggest problem would have to discipline. I try to write each day but things seem to get in my way and I wind up not writing as planned. I also struggle with beleiving that what I’m writing isn’t good enough or where I want it to be. I have prompts before and really like them.
I definitely struggle the most with uncertainty. If I don’t feel like an idea if ready yet or “perfect” yet, I freeze. In those cases, I do two things. I ask why I feel like the idea isn’t good enough because if I can identify it, I can fix it. Once I’ve done that, I just write it knowing that I can always fix it in revisions.
Staci Troilo says
If I had to pick, I’d say number one. I tend to get sucked into social media (not that visiting you guys is wrong!) and before I know it I’ve lost hours when I could have been writing. I need to focus on discipline.
Traci Kenworth says
I DO find that when my desk’s a mess, I tend to not be able to focus on what I’m writing.
Maddie H says
Uncertainty is a huge obstacle for me. I never know where to go with a story and instead of figuring it out I have a tendency to just leave it. Last year I participated in NaNoWriMo and, to my surprise, it helped me enormously. The whole concept of just putting words down on paper and just running with it, not really thinking about where it has to go was really motivating!
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr John Yeoman says
True, writer’s block is something of a myth, I think, a mask for laziness or perhaps clinical depression. Its simplest cure is to get a job as a journalist or ad copywriter. Produce or get fired!
Another cause of blockage is a futile search for perfection. Write quickly. Get it 90% right, then come back later and perfect it. Or, if you’re an established author, let the copy editor sort it out!
Linda A. says
Plot is the weakness I need to address. I have bought The Plot Whisperer’s book and workbook and I am going to improve my writing skills.
Linnéa Asberg says
Creating a captivating and believable plot is really difficult. My only tip is to read anything you can get your hands on: newspapers, novels, ads, text books etc. You can find inspiration in the most unexpected places. When I feel uninspired and blocked, I usually turn to art books and history books; I don’t know why, but I immediately feel inspired.
Interesting thoughts in regards to energy. I find that actually *doing* something when you feel like your energy is too low helps generate energy, and that includes writing. The act of sitting and putting a few words on paper tends to wake me up a bit so that I can keep going.
I haven’t really had any issues with writer’s block. I am horribly disorganized, though. My desk is a mess.
Laura Pfundt says
I have a full time job hat drains me and takes up a hell of a lot of my life. I’m definitely disorganised.
I have little free time to spend so what free time I have wants to be spent with my partner and friends.
This gets in the way of my writing. The way I cope with it is set myself achievable goals like write 1000 words and I get to do something.
My partner helps. He gives me massages if I write 5000 words in one day. Great for motivation.
It’s all about getting into the habit too.
Misha Gericke says
Ooh! I’d love to win an e-copy of this book.
I’m a pantser and can only write part time, so disorganization is definitely the biggest danger to my writing.
At the moment, I’m trying to get back to writing every day, but it’s not happening just yet, so I definitely need this book. 😉
April Taylor says
No problem with the beginning and end of plotting. I can write Ch 1 and after about 20,000 words, write the end. It’s where the road will take me on the middle bit. So I guess uncertainty is my bugbear. Is it exciting enough, rational? Where can I put a twist on this? I just get bogged down in it. I remember a great line in ‘Life and Loves of a She-Devil’ – something along the lines of “her writing hand trembled and stopped”. That’s me!
Katherine Hajer says
Sounds like a great book!
Plot is my biggest stumbling block. I can easily spot and describe the plot structure of finished works, but in my own writing, before I write it… not so much. I do wind up with plots, they’re just not very “on purpose”.
I NEED THIS BOOK!! I am so disorganized, but when I do put my house in order, I can be pretty productive. I also have confidence problems. It’s a miracle I get anything done! Thanks for this post and good news that this book is available.
Becca Puglisi says
This is all such good stuff, Martha. I don’t know that I’ve ever struggled with writer’s block, but I do struggle with Lack of Knowledge about How to Write with Two Toddlers Running Around the House. 🙂
Sheri M Cook says
UNCERTAINTY is a big stumbling block.
I tried writing for just fifteen minutes a day for a month. Less pressure to perform. Everyone can find fifteen minutes.
I found as it became a daily habit the words flowed easier and I did gain confidence. Practice is the only way to become a confident writer.
Prompts are a great tool to open up creativity too.
roland martinez says
I struggle with a lack of knowledge. I can come up with starts but have problems coming up with story worthy problems. It’s possible I actually struggle with lack of confidence that my story worthy problems are worth writing about.
Terry Lavelle says
Pick one? Are you kidding?
Discipline: I’ve tried the first thing in the morning, which was great while it lasted. I’ve tried when I finish work before I go home, which was great while it lasted. And I’ve tried lunchtimes, which … etc.
Confidence: I have had a story idea sitting in my notebook for about three years. I thought it was a light funny piece, then I started to sympathise with the main character and think it deserves a more serious treatment. Thing is, I am not sure I have the skills to turn it into what it deserves to be.
Plot and Structure: I’ve got a disc full of unfinished stories waiting for me to decide whether they are short stories or short novels.
So yeah, I could use some help.;)
Thanks for the post.
At times I struggle with all three, although not necessarily at the same time – thank goodness! But I think what helps me most is knowing that for me, writer’s block is like a road block telling me I’m following the wrong path, hence the dead end. Usually this means I need to go backwards and find the right path. The trouble of course is recognizing the correct path 🙂
Meghan Kirkland says
Uncertainty is definitely my problem. Solution? Take a break from what I’m doing and come back to it with a different perspective. I will also plow through it. Then I’ll return to the problem and sort it out based on how my plot is evolving.
Tyra Esterly says
What a wonderful post! The last couple of days I have been afflicted with some terrible writer’s block, so your post was just the thing I needed to refocus my thoughts this morning before delving into my writing.
Although I struggle with each of the three major dangers, the greatest of the threesome for me would have to be uncertainty. I am always amazed at the amount of ideas my muse consistently pours forth, but I have found uncertainty is the vine that creeps in and squelches it more viciously than the other two.
For this uprooting this menace I have three weapons of choice.
The first is setting challenging, but attainable goals for myself, on a daily, weekly, and ongoing basis. I have found that though challenges, when made too lofty, can themselves add to discouragement, more often than not they remind me of my loftiest dreams, and encourage me to press on into the fray of the unknown, into places I might never have ventured if I had not been challenged in the first place.
The second weapon, which hones and sharpens the first to a deadly point is to read often. This brings me inspiration, a natural antidote to uncertainty. When it hits the bloodstream of my muse it produces a drive to overcome my fears and write like nothing else can. Reading gives my muse a clearer picture of what I wish to attain, and is daily proof that finishing my drafts -and publication!- is an attainable goal.
My third weapon which I have saved for last, however, is the greatest. It is knowing when to take a break. I don’t mean becoming complacent in my writing -as you said in your post, consistency and discipline is key! But what I do mean is taking that time to stretch every once and a while, going take a walk and getting some fresh air will get your blood moving, help you refocus your thoughts, and invigorate your muse. Whenever I hit a stone wall in my writing and, try as I may to lay siege against it, can not break through, I will take a short break for some fresh air. Being outside, in any sort of weather, reminds me of the innumerable ways my senses are affected by my surroundings and when I go back to my writing, I find that the wall’s foundations have been undermined with reality and it is much easier to break through.
Anne Conley says
Uncertainty, without a doubt. I get over myself by using an outline. If I feel uncertain about something, I move on, and come back to it. Usually, the situation resolves itself, or not…either way, I’ve kept on writing.
tyrone slothrop says
While all three apply I rapidly rotate between disorganization and lack of knowledge about how to write a story. Nothing new there – the same applied to writing rather dry technical archaeological reports before I retired. I find just writing something and reading either a new novel or revisiting an old favorite book or story helps.
Plot Whisperer says
Each prompt in the PWBook of Writing Prompts gets you one step, scene nearer to reaching your goal of finishing a story with a plot. Follow the prompts and you will get done!
discipline, which i’m usually so good at, has been my pitfall lately. i believe it is mostly due to stress re: family member’s chronic illness and how it impacts me, but it is still frustrating. i beat up on myself about it, too, even though i know that is counter-productive. ugh. ugh. ugh.
Uncertainty is my culprit. When I’m feeling this way, I write about why I’m feeling this way at that particular time. I never lift the pen from the paper and keep writing about any anxieties, doubts, etc. Before I know it, I can apply these feelings to a character and develop a story from there. I realize then that I have tricked myself into writing.
Janel Gradowski says
I just finished reading The Plot Whisperer a few days ago. I loved it! Exactly what I needed, since I have been sick lately and my writing has suffered. Needless to say, I’ve been very disorganized lately. One thing I do is just open up Scrivener (which is the program I use for writing). Seeing the icon on my computer’s toolbar is an incentive to go into the program and get the work done. I can’t wait to read the prompt book. I LOVE writing prompts. 🙂
Plot Whisperer says
Thank you, Angela and Becca, for hosting me on your blog today. Fascinating to read how universal our fears and uncertainties.
To flip what Amber quoted:
What if you succeeded? What if what you thought was bad is actually brilliant?
Rewrite the story in your head to one of support and belief in yourself. Most importantly, keep writing!
Today, I write…
I am a pantser and I LOVE prompts. My current WIP is primarily built into novel length through many many many prompts. So I have tons of scenes that I know have to linkup or add to.
The problem is getting inspired to write that extra stuff to finish it off. I just have to DO IT, I can’t rely on a prompt to do it for me.
This book might actually be evil for me to own;) So many prompts…I’d never get anything done!
I’m happy I got a copy of Martha’s book. This is a great interview, and I love the tips she gives out here.
Adam Callaway says
Uncertainty. I have trouble judging whether an idea is going to work over a longer piece, or if the initial concept will run thin.
Angela Ackerman says
Self doubt can be so powerful, can’t it? That is one of the biggest things I think we have to overcome in order to get unblocked. For me that’s why having strong connections with other writers is so important–they help us through these moments when we feel paralyzed.
I really enjoy the process of brainstorming, so this keeps me focus and excited about writing. I can be distracted though, especially by the internet, so I need to really focus and keep my butt in the chair and eyes on Word, not anything else.
The one time I had bad writer’s block, I started to journal. This was helpful to me. I would try to focus on the description of small, every day things. This allowed my creative brain to start functioning without feeling the pressure of “writing a great story” if that makes sense.
Great insight, Martha–thank you so much!
Jody DePaemelaere says
Uncertainty. Why am I taking time from my family to write? What does it matter? I am most alive when writing–but shouldn’t I just suck it up and get a cube job?
I struggle with uncertainty and a bit of disorganization. I get great ideas,decide they’re not that good, after all, quit and start on another idea. I’m getting better, now that I’ve identified the problem. Staying organized and working through an idea usually results in a decent story.
I just tweeted this last night (it was something I highlighted from a Wil Wheaton book I was reading):
“What if I sucked? What if I thought something was good, but it was actually garbage?”
So, yeah, #2 is definitely the one thing that occasionally leaves me blocked.
Donna K. Weaver says
I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced writers block, per se, but I will hit times when the scene I’m struggling with isn’t working. It needs to be there but it’s just not taking form the way I want it–but I’m not quite able to say exactly why. I just know it’s not right.
Susanne Drazic says
I struggle with disorganization and uncertainty. My desk is a total mess right now and I can’t find things. If I write something down on a piece of paper and put it on the desk, it seems to disappear for ever.
One thing that can help with writer’s block is doing some freewriting before you start the day’s writing. It helps to clear the cobweb thoughts from the mind.
Martha, CONGRATS on the release of your book! Another great one to put on my list of books to get.
Anne Beggs says
Uncertainty. That unleashes all the “un” words, I fear I am unable, unqualified, and unworthy. That all the hours, days and 20 years will, in the end, be unsatisfactory in the greater scheme of the universal plot! Yikes!!
This is probably going to sound awful, but sometimes my issues with writer’s block come with the problem of having too many ideas. I have so many ideas swirling in my head, when it’s time to start a new book, sometimes I get stalled out by trying to decide which one to tackle first!
Renee Howard Cassese says
I believe lack of consistency is th egreatest block in completing my novel. I tend to write in several genres 9poetry, novels, flash fiction) and though I write every day I’m not always working on the same piece. I lose the thread of my novel’s arc, forget character traits, and lose momentum
Disorganization can also block me as I prefer to write without outlines or pre-plotting. I’m a pantser and love to run with an idea. That works well for poems and flash fiction but not so mucb for novels.
I look forward to using your new book as I find prompts often set my characters on new adventures that add textures to the novel I hadn’t thought of before.
*waves* hi ladies! 🙂
Definitely number one for me. I need organization to write a kicking plot, and time, lol. I’d have to say time is the biggest one. Maybe if i reorganize my schedule to allot a few hours per day I’d get more writing done.
I try to write a minimum of two or three hours a day, but that usually ends up an hour a day. I’m a plotter too, so I always have a “game plan” or “road map” before I start.
Need to start setting extra time aside for about 15 minutes of free writing before I write the novels too.
One thing I’ve found the most useful is to focus one one novel until it’s rough drafted, then I can work on another while the first is sitting.
Trying to juggle writing three and four at a time wore me out, and I ended up blocked more often than not.
One thing I didn’t see mentioned is stress. That can really block you on writing too.
Excellent post! Thanks Martha, Angela, and Becca. 🙂
A struggle I have is getting stuck in my own head. I spend too much time trying to work out the invisible kinks in the story inside my head instead of on the paper.
A method I’ve found helpful is writing a short “prompt” for the next days writing. This give me time to think about it and causes me to wake with fresh ideas for the day’s task.
Romance Book Haven says
I know about Martha. She’s got some great advice.
My plots can rarely get off the ground just because life gets in the way. Plus, I always go the long way around, but that’s another story entirely….
Angela Bigler says
The method most helpful to me for moving through writers block is to write about the writers block. Then as I work through it on the page, a spark appears and leads me on to something else.
Angela Bigler says
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Angela Bigler says
What I struggle with most is this elusive concept of discipline. Where can I find it? I am working on my first fiction novel and I am in love with it, I think about it all the time, I dream about, I am living it – yet when it comes to getting myself to just sit down and focus and type I find the ADD and distractions come knocking.
It is also overwhelming because I am at the point where I have quite a bit of disjointed pieces written and now they must be fixed up and woven together. It’s a daunting mountain of words.
Stina Lindenblatt says
Fortunately my family understands my need to write every day. I’m not a happy camper if I don’t. I’m super organized when it comes to my writing. If only that were true for my house. 😛
Wendy's Writing says
Plotting – without a doubt! I don’t or can’t (one or the other. All of my published stories have formed from the seed of an idea as I’ve written them.
Al Diaz says
Indiscipline is my problem, I think. It is either that or lack of organization. Watching movies, reading on writing, or just doing some exercise works best for me to get rid of the writer’s block.
Matthew Eaton says
If anything, it’s uncertainty that clouds my vision and judgment. It bleeds into everything I do, if I let it. I’ll have to work on this, for certain.
SA Larsenッ says
Yes! Another book on writing for my list!! This sounds awesome. Thanks so much for sharing, Martha!
I struggle with disorganization. Goals give me the hives, so I set milestones (i know another word for goal) and dates. The path might be windy to get me to the milestone, but I’ll get there.